Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cisco to Acquire Jabber for Presence and Messaging Software

Cisco agreed to acquire Jabber, a start-up offering presence and messaging software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jabber provides a carrier-grade presence and messaging platform. Its technology leverages open standards to provide a highly scalable architecture that supports the aggregation of presence information across different devices, users and applications. The technology also enables collaboration across many different presence systems such as Microsoft Office Communications Server, IBM Sametime, AOL AIM, Google and Yahoo!. Jabber is based in Denver.

Cisco said the acquisition will enable it to embed presence and messaging services "in the network" and provide rich aggregation capabilities to users through both on-premise and on-demand solutions, across multiple platforms including Cisco WebEx Connect and Cisco Unified Communications.

NATO Deploys Cisco TelePresence in Afghanistan

NATO has deployed a telepresence system developed by Cisco and constructed by BT and General Dynamics C4 Systems to bring together Afghanistan-based servicemen and women and their relatives in Europe. Specifically, Cisco, BT and General Dynamics have provided a Cisco Telepresence unit at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE HQ) in Belgium and another unit more than 5,400 kilometers away in Kabul, Afghanistan. The first sessions were held earlier this month at the SHAPE HQ in Mons as part of Open Day, an event organized by NATO service provider NCSA (NATO Communications and Information Systems Services Agency), which also showcased innovations in cyber-security and military communications.

The unique setup uses Cisco TelePresence System CTS-1000 models capable of seating two participants inside robust shelters built to withstand extreme weather conditions and transportation over rough terrain. The Cisco TelePresence systems connect via X-band satellite, an industry first in the use of telepresence technology.

Latest FCC Data: 249.2 million U.S. Mobiles, 28.7 Million CLEC Lines

The FCC released its latest data (as of 31-Dec-2007) on local telephone service competition in the United States. Some key figures:

  • End-user customers obtained local telephone service by utilizing approximately 129.7 million incumbent LEC switched access lines, 28.7 million CLEC switched access lines, and 249.2 million mobile telephony service subscriptions at the end of December 2007.

  • Of the 28.7 million CLEC end-user switched access lines, 8.4 million lines were provided over coaxial cable connections. The 8.4 million lines represent about 72% of the 11.7 million end-user switched access lines that CLECs reported providing over their own local loop facilities.

  • Mobile telephony service providers reported 249.2 million subscribers at the end of December 2007, which is 19.6 million, or 9%, more than a year earlier. About 7% of these subscribers were billed by mobile telephony service resellers.

  • There was at least one CLEC serving customers in 81% of the nation's Zip Codes at the end of December 2007. About 97% of United States households resided in those Zip Codes. Moreover, multiple carriers reported providing local telephone service in the major population centers of the country.

  • The 28.7 million lines reported by CLECs is about 18% of the 158.4 million total end-user switched access lines reported for the end of December 2007.

  • CLECs reported 12.1 million (or 13%) of the 93.9 million lines that served residential end users and 16.7 million (or 26%) of the 64.6 million lines that served business, institutional, and government customers.

  • CLECs reported providing 41% of their end-user switched access lines over their own local loop facilities, 37% by using unbundled network elements (UNEs) that they leased from other carriers, and 22% through resale arrangements with unaffiliated carriers.

  • Incumbent LECs reported providing about 11% fewer UNE loops with switching (referred to as the UNE-Platform) to unaffiliated carriers at the end of December 2007 than they reported six months earlier (5.5 million compared to 6.2 million) and about 4% fewer UNE loops without switching (4.1 million compared to 4.3 million).

  • Incumbent LECs were the presubscribed interstate long distance carrier for 59% of the switched access lines they provided to end users, while CLECs were the interstate long distance carrier for 78% of their switched access lines.

EU Considers Strategies for Promoting Next Generation Access Networks

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). Specifically, the EC is seeking proposals on a common regulatory strategy best suited to promote the rollout of fiber-based access networks. There are 229 million copper lines in the EU, compared to slightly more than 1 million fiber connections. Analysts forecast a further EUR 20 billion spending on NGA by 2011.

The basic principle of the Commission's draft Recommendation is that national regulatory authorities should provide access to the networks of dominant operators at the lowest possible level. In particular, they should mandate access to the ducts of the dominant operators allowing competitors to roll out their own fiber. However, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) should also impose further physical access obligations (access to unlit fiber) beyond access to ducts where ducts are not available or the population density is too low for a sustainable business model. Access to active elements such as "bitstream" shall be maintained provided lower level remedies do not sufficiently address distortions of competition.

The draft Recommendation provides also a common approach to ensure non-discriminatory access, as well as a methodology for calculating a proper rate of return, including a risk premium. The Commission believes that for NGA, rates of return should be derived in the light of the risks associated with this kind of investment, bearing in mind that the nominal pre-tax weighted average cost of capital for fixed and mobile operators has been roughly 8 to 12% in recent years.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The deployment of new fiber-networks will shape the competitive conditions of the future. We need an appropriate framework to give European companies fair access to the new networks. We want national rules that will not only encourage the necessary substantial investment in fibre investment but also strengthen broadband competition."

"For consumers, whether private or business, to benefit from the competitive provision of services over optical fibre, it is vital that the Commission provides the regulatory guidance the market needs", said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "We want to reduce the scope for divergences of regulatory approaches across Europe, in the interest of legal certainty. Uncoordinated or even contradictory action of national regulators as regards Next Generation Networks could seriously damage competition and undermine Europe's single market. We propose in particular that project-specific risk premiums should be applied, so that competition can flourish while those who invest are rewarded in line with the risks they have incurred."

The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalize the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.

DiVitas Cites Customer Traction for its Mobile UC Solution

DiVitas Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, cited a number of customer wins for the latest software release of its DiVitas Mobile UC Solution. DiVitas mobilizes corporate voice and messaging (deskphone, voicemail, contacts, IM and Presence) for organizations by unifying these applications onto smartphones. The DiVitas Mobile UC solution can run on Wi-Fi networks, cellular networks or both. Some recent customers include:

  • Sawtel, a carrier that is using DiVitas as a new mobility component to enable a complete Unified Communications solution along with quality voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).

  • The 13th Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, which has begun mobile UC deployment to staff attorneys, probation officers and judges in lieu of high cost deskphones.

  • The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, which is using UC to provide healthcare staff continuous connectivity while on campus where WiFi coverage is spotty.

  • The County Government of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, which is using VoWiFi to significantly decrease mobile expenses. County workers obtain new assignments via mobile SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system while in the field.

  • New College Durham (United Kingdom), which is using UC to increase collaboration of its highly mobile staff at the lowest cost possible.

Recent improvements to the DiVitas client application include a new graphical user interface that is customizable, visual voice mail, improved voice quality and additional PBX features that have been extended over cellular. DiVitas now offers mid-call features over any network including cellular. Abbreviated Dialing, Call Transfer, Call Waiting, Call Hold/Resume, and Call Conferencing are all now supported over Cellular and WiFi.

Upcoming 802.11v Standard to Offer Energy Efficiency

The coming IEEE 802.11v standard will introduce new power savings features that will "green up" wireless LANs, according to Matthew Gast, Trapeze Networks' principal engineer, office of the CTO, and the chair of Wi-Fi Alliance Wireless Network Management and Security Technical task groups.

Trapeze Networks cited a number of energy efficiency measures in the upcoming standard, including:

  • Wireless Network Management Sleep Mode, a further extension to base 802.11 power savings that will allow for longer power-off times for 802.11 radios. It will be used in conjunction with new Traffic Filtering Service to enable access points to deliver only specified frame types.

  • "Wake on WLAN" capabilities that let network managers "wake up" wireless computers and other appliances.

  • Proxy ARP that will let an access point respond to ARP requests enabling stations to power down for longer periods.

  • TIM Broadcast that will distribute traffic indication maps so stations do not need to receive every beacon frame.

  • Flexible Broadcast / Multicast services that will send broadcast / multicast frames at the highest data rate for the group of receivers thereby reducing power-on time for radio interfaces and allow for higher data rates that improve performance of multicast applications.

The 802.11v standard is also expected to include station management features that will give network managers a much more detailed view of network performance and new location features that will offer more accuracy for services like RFID and emergency services.

Trapeze Networks said the 802.11v standard is expected to be finished in 2010.

Huawei Supplies Solar Base Station for Pakistan's Warid

Huawei Technologies Solar Powered Macro Base Station (BTS) for Pakistan's Warid Telecom.

The deployment is believed to be the first of its type in Pakistan. Huawei's environmentally-friendly Solar Powered Macro BTS allows the operator to extend its network reach into remote areas of the country where there is limited access to the electricity grid. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The non-hybrid site is 100% powered on solar energy, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions and noise pollution, both of which is harmful to the local environment. The solution also reduces pressure on Pakistan's overall energy supply which further benefits the environment.

New Submarine cable Lands in Bermuda

A new "Challenger" submarine cable linking the mainland U.S. to Bermuda has reached the island. Challenger span 1,445 km, and is designed with an initial capacity of 20 Gbps. The network can be scaled up to 320 Gbps. Work on the system started earlier this year and operations are expected to begin by early 2009.

The announcement was made by Alcatel-Lucent, in conjunction with Cable Co. Ltd., a Bermudian telecommunications company established by KeyTech Limited, North Rock Communications Ltd., and Transact Limited. Alcatel-Lucent is overseeing the entire project and providing a turnkey network for the Challenger roll-out, including responsibility for the network design, installation and commissioning. Alcatel-Lucent is deploying its 1620 Light Manager (ML) submarine line terminal, cables and power feed equipment, along with its 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC). Financial terms were not disclosed.